SHIZUOKA:YOSHIKAWA INTERNATIONAL PATENT & TRADEMARK OFFICE 

Tip of Industrial Property Rights

History of Patent System

The Patent Monopoly Actwas proclaimed on April 18, Meiji 18 (1885) in Japan. It was the first Patent Law in Japan. We celebrate this day as the “Day of Invention” and enjoy various events related to invention.

Tokimune Gaun, the inventor of Japanese-type spinning machine in Meiji 8 (1875), won the prize as the excellent inventor at the first domestic industrial exposition in Meiji 10 (1877). Since there was no patent system at that time, others imitated Gaun’s invention, moreover, claimed that they were the inventors, respectively, and sold them. Therefore, Tokimune Gaun came to poverty even if he is only the real inventor.

The exposition secretariats got angry and announced this fact.

This incident shows a time with no patent system. From such a reason, many inventors were eager for the Patent Monopoly Actand accepted this law with deep emotion. Indeed, the number of application was beyond authorities’ anticipation.

Lincoln’s Patent

リンカーンの特許Abraham Lincoln, the old president of U.S.A., performed a patent strengthening policy about 130 years ago. He said that "a patent system acts as oil-called profit to genius’s fire.

Lincoln in himself acquired a patent right. He filed an application for the patent right in 1849 when he was 40 years old. His invention allows a ship with loads to safely pass through shallows.

Prominent Trade Mark "SONY"

When Tokyo communication industry, which was the predecessor of SONY company, decided to start business in overseas markets, they started to create a Trade Mark. At first, they thought “TKK” as their Trade Mark from the company’s initial. However, "TKK” was not conspicuous because there were many companies with names of the three alphabets such as “ NBC” in U.S.A. Next candidate was "SONI", which is the plural form of "SONUS" meaning " sound"“ in Latin. However, “SONI”was not employed because "SONI" is pronounced as "SONAI" in English.

Third candidate was "SONNY" from the meaning of "SON" in English. However, "SONNY" was not employed because Japanese pronounce "SONNY" as "SON-NI" and "SON" means “loss or damage” in Japanese. It is not auspicious. Moreover, foreigners pronounce "SONNY" as "SUNNY". Finally, Akio Morita,one of the founders of SONY, decided " SONY".